Andrew Beal photo courtesy of Forbes
Recall that when Tom and Cinda first put their 25.5 acre estate on the market, it was listed with broker Douglas Newby for $136 million. That was in January of 2013. The market was just waking up, of course, but behemoth properties are always tricky to sell because the buyer pool is so limited. When Allie Beth Allman and David Nichols got the listing in March of 2015, the price was lowered to $100 million. Which sounds like a lot, but with acres priced at $2 million just for the dirt, that’s $51 million for the land.
The Hicks bought the property in 1997, and they spent more than $100 million extensively renovating the four-story mansion, which was built in 1938. And they added buildings to the estate. In fact, when we toured the home, it was rather like being in a secluded little village of your very own. The long drive keeps out intruders, and security can roam the property.
When the Hicks worked on the home — they were living on Beverly Drive at the time — they doubled the square footage by adding on two wings to either side of the original mansion. They also added a basement housing a 20-seat theater with commercial equipment. And they added a chilled water system to run hot and cold water throughout the house instantly and heat the floors of the master baths.
And you couldn’t just “add on”: the home’s renovation had to carefully reflect the style and mode of architect Maurice Fatio, who designed the home for the original owners: Pio and Florence Crespi. As part of the purchase agreement, Florence lived at the estate until her death in 1999 even though the Hicks has possession.
Which reminds me: the Hicks are looking for a new home base in Dallas, but there is likely no rush to get out: they could always stay in one of the guest houses at Walnut Place!
Alexandre De Champliamaud
Peter Marino photo courtesy of Architectural Digest
The Hickses worked with New York City architect Peter Marino and Alexandra de Champalimaud to perfect the expansion and help match Fatio’s original vision for the estate. When they needed stone for the new wings, the original quarry from whence Fatio found stone was re-opened after decades of closure to make sure the stones matched as closely as possible to perfection. The point is, the home easily had more than $100 million in improvements and structure on land valued at $51 million in today’s market. So Douglas Newby was not too far in his original pricing.
So did Andy Beal — 62 year old founder and chairman of Plano-based Beal Bank, a college drop-out with interests in everything from aerospace to high-stakes poker, and a mathematical and investing genius —really cough up $100 million? He is a man known for making deals, a value shopper known as an aggressive bottom-feeder. Most agents I have spoken to believe he negotiated the $100 million asking price of the estate on Walnut Hill Lane. Thus far I’ve heard agents speculate he may have paid $70 to $80 million. Perhaps the Hicks estate was a bit more negotiable than the Crow estate? Or perhaps he did realize the deal was so keen at $100 million?
“Andy Beal is a value investor that’s been interested in the property,” Douglas Newby, owner of Dallas-based luxury boutique brokerage Douglas Newby & Associates, told the DBJ.“But his first choice was buying a home in Highland Park, if he could negotiate the right price.”